Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fat and complacent.

Man, there are a lot of household name wineries out there! There are a lot of wineries from California that made their mark in the years between 1975 and 1993 or so, and have done, basically nothing since.  A lot of wineries relying on steakhouses and corporate placements to get them through another year. A lot of 30-70,000 case producers that just sort of continue to slog ahead. About half of them have sold off to another entity somewhere along the line, if their kids didn't want to take over. A lot of old, tired names, making okay, but never great wines, just sort of hanging on to the name they established while most of the people that drank their wines were still young. Now those people are nearing retirement age, and what are these wineries to do? They have gotten, fat and complacent through the years. They have relied too much on the name recognition and haven't evolved to meet the times. Now that the people that drank their wines are retiring or dying, and the stores that bought their wines are switching to concierge/ in house wine steward sommeliers, who is their audience? Their success thus far was set in motion years ago, but failing to articulate a true marketing plan, has placed an expiration date on their success that coincides with the expiration date of their clients. If you continue to make world class wine, like Ridge, Heitz, Chateau Montelena, you will live on through generations  If you once made world class wine, but the world caught up to you, you are forever doomed to be a footnote. On some level, we are just enabling these wineries. If we, as a wine drinking society, continue to reward mediocrity, we will be met with mediocrity.  We will be doomed by dead, tired, artifact wineries that are here only because they are recognizable.

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